If you have a change in circumstances that makes your current child visitation schedule difficult or impossible, you might need to request a child custody modification. In the best of circumstances the other parent will agree to whatever modifications you require. In the worst of circumstances, you may need to go to court.
To receive a court-ordered child custody modification, you'll need to submit a petition to change your current court orders. You'll then go to a hearing before a judge, who will decide whether to grant your petition or not.
How to prepare your modification request
When submitting a petition to change your child custody orders, you'll want to support your wish for a change in a strategic way that aligns itself with Washington child custody laws. First and foremost, you'll have to prove that a substantial change of circumstances has occurred.
Changes that could result in a custody modification include:
- One parent is moving.
- The current place or neighborhood where the child lives is no longer safe.
- A parent's working schedule has drastically changed.
- The child's needs have changed as he or she grew older.
- The family structure or situation has changed.
- One of the parents is not or cannot follow the current parenting schedule.
Documenting your change in circumstances
It's important to document any change in circumstance and how your petition to modify your custody orders with appropriate paperwork. Such documentation might include:
- Your custody journal showing notes about issues relating to your current custody plan.
- Your analysis of scheduled parenting time compared to your actual parenting time.
- School or activity schedules that show how your parenting time has been affected.
- New job evidence and evidence of schedule changes.
- Evidence showing why you need to relocate.
- Doctors' statements and statements from witnesses or teachers.
- Statements from children who are old enough to provide input.
- Proof of the other parent's unfitness or proof of issues relating to the other parent.
Are you ready to seek the custody changes you need?
An approved child custody modification petition could make you and your family's lives much easier. As such, you will want to apply for such a change strategically and carefully to give yourself the best chances of success. A detailed understanding of Washington family law will go a long way in helping you in this regard.